A big test of 100% one oil soaps – part I
Formulating your own soap recipe can be tricky. There are some nice tools estimating the final soap characteristics like hardness, conditioning, bubliness, creaminess of lather like for example soapcalc.
But getting the real feel of it is an experience.
And while this estimate gives you an idea on the final soap characteristics, it won’t tell you how each oil reacts in the saponification process, what would be the color of the soap or how fast it will go rancid (although this can be estimated from the oil shelf life itself)
Therefore I decided to make a test of ten 100% one-oil soaps, to get a feeling about:
- how the oils react in the saponification – e.g. do they trace fast or you have to whip long time?
- the cure time
- the final soap color
- hardness, bubliness, creaminess of lather
I will share with you my experience in two posts. The results are more interesting than I expected – some soaps did not behave according to estimates at all…
The one oil soap experiment set up
- For molds I used individual 150 ml plastic containers I had from some diary product. Therefore I set up the oil quantity to 50g, so that after adding the lye I still can stir comfortably.
- I marked the molds with numbers so that I know which contains which oil
- Because the molds are individual, and loose quickly heat, I tried to have higher oil+lye mixing temperatures – I opted for the recommended 47°C from The Soapmaker’s Companion
- I also tried to stir first by hand – to find out if the blender is necessary – only if I found it too long (more than 10 minutes), I used the blender – I aimed for thick trace
Table 1 shows the recipe and experimental conditions for each soap. The sodium hydroxide was calculated using SoapCalc.
|SAPgroup||Oil||Weight (g)||Superfat||Mixing temperature (°C)||Trace temperature (°C)|
Jojoba oil and beeswax are waxes and need only half of the quantity of sodium hydroxide, because they can contain 50% or more unsaponifiables.
100% oil soaps – behavior in trace
Table 2 Summarizes how the soap behavior until trace.
Castor oil, shea butter, palm oil and beeswax traced without using blender, castor and shea tracing the fastest, followed by palm oil.
Soaps after 24 hours – unmolding
I unmolded soaps after 24 hours. A nice adventure 🙂 Of course, I took pictures and tried soap hardness by thumb imprint before unmolding.
The softest soap was from peanut oil, the hardest was from cocoa butter.
Soaps after 24 hours – soap color
There were significant differences in color between soaps. The best is to compare color between soaps on one photo. Also, I did not reproduce well the color on the pictures I have taken, however I did my best. Here you have a series of pictures of unmolded soaps that hopefully help you get a feeling…
As a bonus, I have made a video.
The whitest soap was the coconut oil soap, followed by castor oil soap, which was slightly translucent. Both followed by palm oil soap which was of white-creamy color, a bit more creamy were shea butter and corn oil soaps.
Rather cream yellow was peanut oil soap.
Olive oil soap was yellow-green and started to loose color through expanding white spots within the following days after unmolding. After two weeks it was completely cream-white.
Cocoa butter soap kept the darker yellow color of the cocoa butter and jojoba oil soap – or rather the floating part of it – was bright yellow.
Beeswax soap was beige, interestingly, upon touch it darkened.
|Left – cocoa butter soap, right – castor oil soap|
|Coconut oil soap|
|Olive oil soap|
|Corn oil soap|
|Cocoa butter soap|
|Shea butter soap|
Although I could unmold the peanut oil soap with help of freezer after 3 days, it remained very soft.
|Peanut oil soap after 3 days|
See the following part:
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